By Austin Smith
Almanac is a set of lyrical and narrative poems that remember, and mourn the passing of, the realm of the small family members farm. yet whereas the poems are all fascinated by a way with the agricultural Midwest, quite with the folks and land of the northwestern Illinois dairy farm the place Austin Smith was once born and raised, they're something yet only local. because the poems ponder farm existence, they open out to talk about early life and dying, the lack of culture, the destruction of the wildlife, and the severing of connections among humans and the land.
This assortment additionally displays on a protracted poetic apprenticeship. Smith's father is a poet himself, and Almanac is partly a meditation in regards to the accountability of the poet, in particular the younger poet, while it falls to him to talk for what's vanishing. to cite one other Illinois poet, Thomas James, Smith has tried during this publication to write down poems "clear because the glass of wine / on [his] father's desk each Christmas Eve." by way of turns exhilarating and disquieting, this can be a outstanding debut from a particular new voice in American poetry.
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Additional info for Almanac: poems
36 The Battlefield Before the armies came, before the men drafted into them were even born, the land began preparing itself, the way a room will the night of a wedding, the colors of the quilt deepening, the windows slowly opening themselves to starlight and wind. Years before, the streams began burying themselves deeper. Once a year a boulder volunteered to roll down hill, splintering young trees: afterwards the air smelled like lightning though there’d been none. The wind blew the big trees down one by one like candles.
Someone had already broken and I had the distinct feeling he wasn’t coming back, that now this man was going to have to play the game out alone. Except I was there. Except he didn’t seem to notice me, so intently was he staring down the length of the cue. Maybe it was I who had broken. It doesn’t matter. They were spaced like spheres in an astronomy diagram, the planets signified by color rather than size, colors like those of old maps of Europe. And that man seemed a kind of god, poised to bash the spheres against one another, to sink them all in those pockets dark as the pocket a man pulls his watch from to record the time in a shaky hand in a little book.
But the day comes when their only spade is a playing card and they know when they die the pit will still be there. They start making their peace with it. 39 The Man Who Poisoned Robert Johnson walks home under willows, the moon a paroxysm deep in their weepy heads. He knows at the dance they’re still trying to extricate the bottle from Johnson’s hand, but his seized body is stubborn, a child who won’t go to bed. The other way down the road here comes the guy shot Lorca. He’s got his head down and it isn’t shame.
Almanac: poems by Austin Smith